Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tips for Getting Started with Property Investment

The island of Manhattan, from which the term i...
The island of Manhattan, from which the term is derived. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Investment property. Two words that have lived on the lips of those who desire something more from life, for the last five years, since the world economy took a hit and monopolies shifted. So, should you? While there are arguments for and against, I’m not here to convince you either way, rather, should you decide to take the plunge and join the 1.3 million Australians who enjoy the benefits of investment properties, I’ve compiled some tips. Tricks of the trade, common sense or not. Whatever happens, as you set off into investment land, don’t give up or get overwhelmed; yes, there are details and caveats, confusing points of jargon and slippery real estate agents, but you can do it without leaving your mind behind. 

Where Are You Sitting?

Discerning where you’re located on the financial spectrum is the first and most essential step. Stepping back and taking stock of your current debts, assets, expenses against total income figures will instantly give you a clear picture of investment viability. If you’ve had problems paying a credit card or personal loan in the past, check your credit file and analyse where you stand. Will you have trouble making mortgage repayments, maintenance contributions and other ownership fees and taxes, on top of everything else? Defaulting on your loan is the last thing you want to do. If you’re less financially secure then you feel comfortable with, hold off on investing until you knock out a few other debts and build your credit rating. All in good time. On the other hand, if you’re in the clear and enjoy a stable occupation, give yourself a green light, start researching home buyers grants (if it’s your first home) and talk to financial institutions to compare rates. 

What Property? Which Home?

Planning and researching are important components of the investment process. Before you can refine a series of goals or even project how much you need to borrow, figuring out what sort of home or investment you want is important. Do you want to live in it at first? Do you wish for something regionally located? Do you prefer certain suburbs? Would you rather the flexibility of investing in a display home or do you fancy a simple cottage somewhere out of town? Each option has specific advantages, and only you know what you’re looking for. 

Start Planning

By now, you should have figured out whether you qualify for a loan; if not, boost those figures by repaying more than the bare minimum on other debts and try again later. Successful? Great. Now start budgeting – not only to pad your savings account and repay other debts, but to identify a long term strategy when your debts will be significantly higher. Still confident? Good. Now head out into the market, talk to property owners, look at sources like Coral Homes home and land packages and remember, be prudent regarding negotiations and real estate agents. They are there to help you, but some like to help themselves too. Don’t settle on a property you’re not 100% happy with, as you’ll be inheriting its difficulties, flaws and quirks.

Happy hunting!
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